A challenging task in ornithology lies in identifying high-altitude nocturnal
migrating bird species and genders. While the current approaches including radar,
lunar obscuration, and single-band thermal imaging provide means of detection, a
more detailed spectral or polarimetric analysis of light has the potential for
retrieval of additional information whereby the species and sex could be determined.
In this paper, we explore remote classification opportunities provided by iridescent
features within feathers in the mid-infrared region. Our approach first involves
characterizing the microstructural features of the feather by using rotation and
straining, and a scheme for their remote detection is proposed by correlating these
microstructural changes to spectral and polarimetric effects. Furthermore, we
simulate the spectral signature of the entire bird by using a model that
demonstrates how classification would be achieved. Finally, we apply infrared
hyperspectral polarization imaging, showing that the net iridescent effect persists
for the bird as a whole.
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